Supported by the Association for the right to die with dignity (ADMD), Chantal Sébire, a 52-year-old patient with esthesioneuroblastoma (progressive and incurable tumour of sinus and nasal cavity) asked the justice, on 12th March, to be able “to benefit from a medically assisted suicide“.
Right to life
According to the requisitions of the prosecuting attorney, the vice-president of the court of first instance of Dijon dismissed Chantal Sébire, judging that her demand was opposed to “the code of medical ethics, which stipulates that the physician does not have the right to deliberately give death”, and to criminal code and to the European Convention on Human Right.
Several ministers have reacted to this demand, expressing their willing not to modify the law relating to the end of life.
Prime Minister, F. Fillon, evoked the “considerable progresses” enabled by the law in force, adding that we must have the modesty to recognise that the society can not answer all these questions”. By nature, a law establishes constraints and if we go towards a more liberal law on euthanasia, this one would be, at its turn, compromised by particular cases. For Minister for justice, R. Dati, a law legalising euthanasia would be opposed to our legislation. “We founded our law, and the European Convention on Human Rights, on the right to live.” R. Bachelot, minister of Health, reminded that the physicians must relieve patients and then their intervention “cannot have effect in our legislation and our life philosophy to put an end to patient’s life”; “in any case, death cannot proceed from a project of which health professionals are associated“. “We do not have the right to interrupt voluntarily life”, concluded Nicolas Sarkozy.
In Le Figaro, Martine Perez denounces the paradox of this demand: “whereas an increasing number of countries banish capital punishment, in the name of the absolute respect of life, the demand of elimination of incurable patients and who suffer runs paradoxically the opposite way”.
While writing, we knew the death of Chantal Sébire. The circumstances of her death are not yet known.